After nine years of waiting, Toronto FC have finally clinched their first ever playoff spot. All Toronto needed was a draw to clinch the spot, but they left nothing to chance with a 2-1 win against the east-leading New York Red Bulls.
Sebastian Giovinco had his 22nd goal of the year, despite just getting off a plane from Italy this afternoon, to give Toronto the victory. This came after Herculez Gomez opened the scoring early in the second half. Shaun Wright-Phillips had the only goal for the Red Bulls.
The first half of the match was fairly uneventful, as TFC absorbed the pressure placed on it by the New York Red Bulls and did their best to push the attack. They had their chances, but didn't have the finishing touch.
This isn't surprising, considering the fact that 32 of their goals this season were sitting on the bench between Jozy Altidore and Giovinco.
The most eventful moment of the first half did involve Altidore, however, as the Toronto striker received a red card from the bench after what appeared to be an altercation with the assistant referee. The reasoning given on Major League Soccer's website was "foul and abusive language".
Toronto did not lose a man on the field as a result of this, evidently, and the club pressed on to keep things level going into halftime. As a result they were 45 minutes away from history as both a draw or a win would mean a first ever playoff berth for the club.
Early in the second half they extended their lifeline. In the 51st minute Gomez took advantage of some poor New York defending to break through one-on-one and poke the ball by Luis Robles in goal.
Gomez was once again centre-stage, but for worse reasons later in the match. His free kick on the edge of the area late in the match hit Toronto FC midifielder Jonathan Osorio in the head, who stayed down for an extended period of time. He would continue to play, however.
The veteran attacker was then replaced in the 71st minute in a surprise substitution that saw Giovinco come onto the field despite having just returned to Toronto from Italy this morning. As a result most did not expect the Italian international would get any minutes at all.
It did not take him long to make an impact, however, just seven minutes after being introduced he made it 2-0. Collecting the ball in the New York half, Giovinco cut past two New York defenders before finding the back of the net.
New York were not ready to roll over, however, as minutes later a volley from Wright-Phillips made things tense again: 2-1 with four minutes plus stoppage time to play.
This was especially true when a surprising six minutes of time was added at the end of the match, which seemed disproportionate to the stoppage within the match.
The goal sealed the deal for Toronto FC, who officially claimed their first playoff berth in nine years as the final whistle blew. The win also moved them up to second in the Eastern Conference, pushing them closer to a home playoff game.